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US Olympic Committee moves to revoke governing powers of USA Gymnastics following scandals

Olympian Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the U.S. senior women's competition in August at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston. USA Gymnastics, the national governing body, is facing de-recognition from the U.S. Olympic Committee over its handling of the recent scandals. (Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The United States Olympic Committee announced Monday that it has initiated proceedings against USA Gymnastics, with the intention of revoking USAG's recognition as a governing body.

USAG has been plagued with scandals over the past few years, particularly surrounding allegations that the organization covered up sexual abuse claims against now-disgraced former team doctor Larry Nassar.

What are the details?

USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the committee's actions.

"This is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions," she said. "Seeking to revoke recognition is not a conclusion that we have come to easily."

In an open letter to the United States gymnastics community, Hirshland told the athletes that "everyone now faces the reality of belonging to a national organization that continues to struggle to change its culture, to rebuild its leadership and to effectively serve its membership."

She added, "You deserve better."

Hirshland explained that the USAG has been given the option to voluntarily surrender their recognition as a governing body. If the complaint proceedings move forward, however, USAG's recognition isn't guaranteed to be revoked; a panel will be named, a hearing held, and the USOC board would then vote on whether or not to strip the national governing body of its powers.

USAG's board of directors responded to the USOC's letter, saying, "USA Gymnastics is carefully reviewing the contents of this letter and is evaluating the best path forward for our athletes, professional members, the organization and staff."

The organization went on to defend itself, saying, "USA Gymnastics' board was seated in June 2018 and inherited an organization in crisis with significant challenges that were years in the making. In the four months since, the Board has done everything it could to move this organization towards a better future."

What's the background?

CBS News reported that USAG is currently searching for its fourth CEO in the last 19 months. Long-time head Steve Penny resigned in March 2017, and interim CEO Kerry Perry stepped down after nine months on the job.

Perry was then replaced by former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), who didn't even last a week before throwing in the towel over an Instagram post where she criticized Nike following the company's endorsement deal with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Penny was arrested last month after a grand jury in Texas indicted him for tampering with evidence in connection with documents related to accusations against Nassar.

Nassar is currently serving a sentence of 40 to 175 years after being convicted of sexually abusing women and girls over the course of several years. More than 150 accusers came forward to report being assaulted by the doctor.

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